It really wasn’t a huge deal. Rizzo is the Jim Thome of his generation, someone who spends more time ranking his favorite Halloween candies than thinking about ways he can be mean to other people, and I’m willing to believe his slide was an instinctual move fueled by adrenaline and immediacy.
But Maddon keeps doubling down. In an interview with 670 The Score on Tuesday, he intimated that this wouldn’t have been a problem if Buster Posey wasn’t a weenie who was out of position when a runner shattered his ankle.
I’m really confused by why (catchers getting maimed) gained so much attention, except for the fact that Buster Posey got hurt a couple years ago. If it was a third-string catcher for the Atlanta Braves who got hurt three years ago, this wouldn’t even be in existence.
McGwire went to USC instead of the Expos, where he would have pitched. Posey would have been pitching with the Angels, probably in relief. Jack Clark walked 19 batters in 15 innings while hitting .321 with power, and the Giants figured that one out pretty quickly.
I do want a simulation that lets us see how well these players would have hit if they were full-time pitchers. They would have been awful, probably, because even the best-hitting pitchers are awful. The best comparison for what would have happened is probably Ken Brett, who is one of baseball’s all-time best what-if stories. He was a great hitter for a pitcher, but he could have been a great hitter for a hitter if someone, somewhere, pushed him down a much different career path.
Would this team have been one of the best ever? It would have the funniest infield defense ever, I’m pretty sure. And they would probably sock a few dingers, especially when the #9 spot came up. My idea of heaven is a place with a computer that can run these simulations, and it would take me about 200 years to get sick of it.